Bouchercon 2016 took place in New Orleans, Louisiana. For those who don’t know, it’s the biggest, brassiest crime fiction conference in North America. And what better place to party than in New Orleans with neon-lit bars, music, great food, voodoo shops and haunted mansions! 



I’ve only attended two Bouchercons so far, both in Toronto. Once I was in charge of a  priceless collection of eccentric tea pots used for our highly successful British tea – featuring a full-dress Mountie and a drag queen Queen Elizabeth. (I’ll leave that story for Surreal Trapdoor.) Both events tiny compared to New Orleans with an estimated 800+ authors and 2000+ attendees.

Bouchercon isn’t set up like other crime fiction conferences. Rather it’s a series of events: opening ceremony, publisher receptions, showcase talks by Big Names, etc. Author panels are more chatty than informative. In other words, it’s a fan fest for readers and an opportunity for authors to network, network, network!  As a Canadian it was easy to feel lost in an ocean of American authors and fans, so it was great to see and party with fellow Canucks: Rob Brunet, Cathy Ace, Laurie Reed, John McFetridge, Ian Hamilton, Grace Koshida and  Linwood Barclay. Most of us arrived on the same flight and five of us shared a stretch limo to get to the Marriott conference hotel. Talk about arriving in style!


Not bad, huh?

Bouchercon was well-organized, the volunteers more than helpful. My registration was misfiled and all was sorted out cheerfully in seconds. One innovation to be recommended: the Book Bazaar.  Bagging books for attendees is time-consuming and no one is happy with the random selection they end up with. So New Orleans had a great solution: hand each registrant a bag and send them into the Book Bazaar where they can self-serve 6 books from the vast array piled on tables.  Of course, that way I ended up bringing home more books when I swore I wouldn’t add to our shelves!

Fellow Canadians, Janet Costello and Helen Nelson were promoting Bouchercon 2017 which takes place in Toronto. Several of my American author friends have promised to attend. Can’t promise them a drag queen Queen Elizabeth, but we will be sure to have lots of Canadian surprises Oct0ber 12 to 15, 2017 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel.

Highlights of the spectacular 2016 conference:

Noir at the Bar – Two reading events for noir authors, one at Bouchercon in the afternoon and the other in the evening at the appropriately named Voodoo Lounge. Strong work by many authors including Craig Faustus Buck, Meg Gardiner, Johnny Shaw and the incomparable Krista Faust that set the bar very high indeed. Rob Brunet read his chilling flash story soon to be published in Ellery Queen Magazine.


The incomparable Krista Faust


Ayo Onatade & Noir at the Bar founder, Peter Rozovsky







We had the privilege of sitting with two amazing people: Ayo Otonabe on holiday from London, England where she works at the British Supreme Court and Peter Rozovsky, founder of Noir at the Bar. Ayo writes regularly for Crimespree and Shotsmag.  And Peter is the original founder of Noir at the Bar. He lives in Philadelphia with a dark secret: like David Morell, he’s actually Canadian!


Lunch with the Short Mystery Fiction Society –


O’Neil de Noux


Napoleon’s restaurant






I’ve been a member of SMFS for many years and though I know SMFS-er’s in cyberspace, we have yet to meet in person.  The SMFS lunch at Napoleon’s restaurant in the French Quarter was the perfect way to connect.  My law and order experience continued: our lunch was organized by working police detective and award-winning author, O’Neil de Noux.  And I shared a table and fantastic conversation with railway police officer, Jim Doherty and his wife and retired poker-playing judge, Debra H. Goldstein.

Interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan – Sisters in Crime mothership runs a speakers bureau. Every year a few lucky chapters are visited by a leading member. Next year in 2017 our Toronto Chapter will host best-selling author and investigative journalist, Hank Phillippi Ryan.


Hank Phillippi Ryan

It was a true privilege to interview this amazing woman on behalf of Toronto Sisters in Crime!

Hank was one of the first women to break the gender barrier in TV broadcasting. She has won 33 EMMYs and dozens of other awards for her investigative journalism.  In her spare time, she has written 9 best-selling mystery novels and won  5 Agathas, two Macavitys, two Anthonys among many other awards. A past president of national Sisters in Crime, she’s also a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of American University.

Watch for the full text of our interview in the 2017 SinC newsletter and on this website.


SoHo Crime Reception, Crime Goes Global –  Food is a highlight of New Orleans and Bouchercon did not fail to deliver.  A generously stocked hospitality suite as well as creole cuisine served in the hotel lobby ensured that no writer went hungry.  We stuffed ourselves on jambalaya, shrimp and grits, po’boy sandwiches, beignets…well, you get the idea.

Soho Crime hosted a fun event featuring a “Yankee Swap” lottery. If you had a winning ticket, you could steal a better prize from an earlier winner. Ed had his eye on a collection of New Orleans music while I gazed fondly at the stuffed green alligator, but no dice that evening. We did, however, connect with Soho author, Lisa Brackmann, a friend of a friend of Ed’s.  A former motion picture executive, Lisa is the author of a series set in China, featuring Iraq war vet, Ellie McEnroe. Can’t wait to read Rock Paper Tiger!

Mardi Gras Parade –

A major highlight was the Second Line parade leading up to the interview between Lee Child and David Morrell at the Orpheum Theatre.  These parades, featuring floats, stilt walkers and brass bands, are traditional for funerals and Mardi Gras.  We were all handed colourful paper parasols that proved handy in the light rain. Rain is different in NOLA: it doesn’t cool things off – it steams! Despite the rain, we had great fun marching down Canal Street with blogger and reviewer, Seana Graham.

Dinner at Arnaud’s – Bouchercon is all about reconnecting with author friends. It was wonderful to visit with authors Sarah Chen, Dale and Mysti Berry, Ray Daniel, Hilary Davidson and Jeff Markowitz.


Ellen Kirschmann


Mar Preston & Nancy Cole Silverman






Fellow authors Ellen Kirschmann, Mar Preston and Nancy Cole Silverman invited us to a culinary adventure: dinner at Arnaud’s restaurant where the waiters are better dressed than we could hope to be – even at our daughter’s wedding!  The food was wonderful: duck, crab cakes, local fish and of course, signature champagne cocktails.

Ellen is a psychologist who works with the families of police officers. Her non-fiction books have sold over 100,000 copies. She has recently turned to crime fiction with her book, The Right Wrong Thing, winning critical praise from Publishers Weekly. Nancy is the author of the Carol Childs’ mystery series. Mar has penned 5 police procedurals between working to help animals in her California mountain town. 


Ed in style!

It’s interesting to observe that the French style in New Orleans is fin de siècle / Art Nouveau. The waiters wear black tie and long white aprons that were fading out in Paris 40 years ago.  Ed and I felt tres declasse. In fact, we were only allowed to eat there because Ellen generously loaned Ed her jacket!

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The Mesdames of Mayhem are delighted to announce their third anthology, 13 Claws, to be published by Carrick Publishing in September, 2017 in time for Bouchercon Toronto!


Eyes and teeth ready for 13 Claws!

All the stories in 13 Claws will be about animals: cats, dogs, bears, snakes  – and that’s just for starters!  The only limit will be the twisted imaginations of the Mesdames. And to balance our dark side, we are donating a percentage of our anthology’s sales to the Toronto Humane Society.

More Big News: We Mesdames love to encourage new Canadian writers; indeed many of us teach creative writing. So for 13 Claws, we will have a contest! One story in the anthology will be by a previously unpublished author. Submission rules will be announced later this fall on this website and our FB page.

A bit of history…

In 2013, Carrick Publishing released the Mesdames’ first anthology as an introduction to our group and our writing. 13 Mesdames contributed stories so the title naturally became Thirteen!

Thirteen was a huge success.  Rosemary McCracken’s story, “The Sweetheart Scamster” was a Derringer finalist. And two stories were nominated for the Arthur Ellis Best Short Story award: Donna Carrick’s “Watermelon Weekend” and Sylvia Warsh’s, “The Emerald Skull”.

Thirteen has indeed proved to be our lucky number!



In 2015, Carrick Publishing published our second anthology, 13 O’clock.  This time, all the stories were about time. Stories took place in the distant past or in the future. A ticking clock threatened disaster. Or in many tales, a diabolical past caused havoc in the lives of characters. For the first time, we included a story by our Monsieur, Ed Piwowarczyk.

13 O’clock proved to be another big success with good reviews by veteran crime fiction reviewer, Don Graves and by Vanessa Wasserman for the Sleuth of Baker Street newsletter. The icing on the cake: another Arthur Ellis Award nomination, this time for M. H. Callway’s novella, Glow Grass!

And best of all both Thirteen and 13 O’clock are now available in the Toronto Public Library!




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Mesdames on the Move October

The Mesdames of Mayhem at Word on the Street

Sunday, September 25th was a glorious fall day in Toronto and at Harbourfront the city’s book lovers were out to meet their favourite authors and celebrate literacy at Word on the Street. Mesdames of Mayhem had our own booth for the first time, WB12 in Writers’ Block. Eight of us spent the day there, talking to the crowds and, yes, selling books! Most of the Mesdames are members of the Toronto chapter of Sisters in Crime –their booth was right next to ours– and Crime Writers of Canada and we also signed books at those booths. The photos tell the story of what a good time we had.


Lynne Murphy, Sylvia Warsh, Catherine Astolfo


“Mesdames-ing” the booth Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Cathy Dunphy, Sylvia Warsh


M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken









M. H. Callway, Catherine Astolfo


BIG NEWS COMING LATER IN OCTOBER FROM THE MESDAMES. Visit our website next week for the reveal!

October is Mme Lisa de Nikolits’s month!

51nexm-TziL__SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Mme. Lisa de Nikolits’ new novel, The Nearly Girlpublished by Inanna, was one of the best sellers at Word on the Street on Sunday.

The book will be launched Thursday, October 13th at 6:00 p.m. at the Women’s Arts Association, 63 Prince Arthur Ave., Toronto. There will be readings, wine and cheese, and, according to Lisa, badges. Who could resist that?

The novel has already gained good reviews in Beach Metro News and Canadian Living magazine.  Mme. Lisa will be touring the Maritimes in early October–for dates and places check out our September Mesdames on the Move.


Carrick Publishing is bringing out three crime books by Mesdames Rosemary Aubert, Donna Carrick and M. H. Callway this fall, print and cyber launch dates to be announced later in October on this website!




D. J. McIntosh

D. J. McIntosh

By popular demand, the Mesdames of Mayhem have been invited back to the Mt. Pleasant Branch, TPL as part of the International Authors Festival, Tuesday, October 18th, 7 pm at 599 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Toronto.  The Mesdames reading will be: M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and D.J. McIntosh.



Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert

Mme Rosemary Aubert has two events this month. On Sat, October 8th, 9 am to 12 noon, visit her at the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, Durham College, Centre for Food Building, Thickston Rd and 401, Whitby ON.

On Tuesday, October 25th, 2 pm, she will be reading at the Eatonville Branch, TPL, 43o Burnhamthorpe Rd, Scarborough, ON.


M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway

Mme M. H. Callway will be giving her workshop on How to Get Published at the Eatonville Branch, TPL on Wed, October 5th at 6:30 pm.  Address: 430 Burnhamthorpe Rd, Scarborough, ON.



Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

On Friday, October 21st, at 7:00 p.m. Mme Lisa de Nikolits will be reading from her new book, The Nearly Girl, at Knox Presbyterian Church, 59 Riddell St., Woodstock, ON. The evening is part of the International Festival of Authors.




Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

 Mme. Rosemary McCracken’s  newest Pat Tierney mystery, Raven Lake, was a popular selection at our WOTS booth!

Rosemary will be in Minden, Ont. on Sat. October 15th to conduct a workshop on Structuring Your Novel. The workshop is sponsored by Haliburton Highlands Writers and Editors Network and will be held from 10:30 to 3:00 in the Minden Cultural Centre in Minden, Ont.



Joan O'Callaghan

Joan O’Callaghan

61bgefae0xl__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx324_sy324_pikin4bottomright122_aa346_sh20_ou15_Mme Joan O’Callaghan has updated her book, Amazing Days This gives teachers factoids and classroom activities for different days of the calendar year. Already available in e-book format courtesy of Carrick Publishing, it’s coming out this fall in Print Edition. Watch for this terrific resource, in October.



Bony Blithe Award

Mme. Cheryl Freedman reminds us that the Bony Blithe competition for light hearted mysteries is now accepting entries. Check out the Bony Blithe website for contest rules here.


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The fabulous MESDAMES OF MAYHEM have their own booth, W12, in Writers Block at Harbourfront! WORD ON THE STREET takes place this Sunday, September 25th from 11 am to 6 pm. We love meeting readers. …


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Toronto-Logo-PNG-optThe fabulous MESDAMES OF MAYHEM have their own booth, W12, in Writers Block at Harbourfront! WORD ON THE STREET takes place this Sunday, September 25th from 11 am to 6 pm.


We love meeting readers. Do join us for a chat about crime fiction and a chance to buy our books!

13 O'Clock Launch Website1

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Mesdames of Mercy Part 4

What We Do in the Sunlight:

This is the fourth in our series about the volunteer work the Mesdames of Mayhem do when they aren’t thinking up ways to murder people. This month we feature Mesdames Jane Burfield and Lynne Murphy.

From Mme. Jane Burfield:

mesdames-jane-burfield2-icon SquareVolunteering has always been an important part of my life. I started at age six, cleaning soldiers’ ashtrays at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Progressing up through sandwich making to whirring milkshake machines made me feel very mature at eight. I have enjoyed volunteer work all my life, but none more than helping in the last few years to test dogs for Therapeutic Paws of Canada.

Therapeutic Paws is a remarkable program. Their tested and approved teams of dog or cat and owner visit facilities where they bring smiles to hospital and retirement residents.  Some animals are further tested to qualify to visit children. The team even goes in to schools and universities to reduce stress during exams.

Testing is an interesting process. We actually test the owner as much as the animal.  The dog has to show willingness to obey commands from its owner, an ability to withstand loud sounds, strange situations and crowds, and have a gentle manner when interacting with people.

The therapy animals bring comfort and happiness to many clients in stressful situations. Please link to the Therapeutic Paws website at to read more about their programs, to volunteer and to support their services.

Volunteering as a young child drove my interest in people which led to my enjoyment of developing interesting characters in my writing. The time you give is time well spent.

Mme. Burfield’s short stories appear in numerous anthologies including “Thirteen” and “Thirteen o’clock”.

From Mme. Lynne Murphy:

lynneFor more than twenty years the osteoporosis exercise classes at West Scarborough Community Centre have hosted Bone China Teas to raise funds and increase awareness of osteoporosis. I began working for the tea under the direction of our leader, Doris Spencer. When Doris found it was getting to be a bit much for her, my friend Pam and I volunteered to help. It worked out well as Pam ran the kitchen very capably and I was in charge of the entertainment side.

At first the teas were just nice events where we dressed up a bit and sat around and gossiped. Then we decided  there should be a theme–we started with a crazy hat competition and went on from there. One year we saluted the Roaring Twenties, with everyone in costume and Doris teaching the Charleston. Another tea honoured Will and Kate’s wedding with fabulous hats. My daughter made a fascinator out of two tub scrubbers and a spray of sequins. For the Queen’s Jubilee we had our local MP as special guest. He brought souvenir pins for all the ladies attending.

We also have a quiz in line with the theme of the tea. The guests at each table work on the quiz together and this gets conversation going.  And  everyone at the table with the most right answers gets a prize. The year of the royal wedding one question was “Which member of the Royal family is a patron of the Osteoporosis Society in Britain?” (If you don’t know, see answer below.)

Everything is donated–food, door prizes, raffle prizes–so that every dollar earned goes to Osteoporosis Canada. This month, our group is to be honoured at a meeting of that organization for our contributions over the years. Something for a small group of women to be proud of.

Mme. Murphy’s short stories are in a number of anthologies, including “Thirteen” and “Thirteen o’clock.”

Editor’s note: During the past few months, the Mesdames have written about their volunteer activities in the community. These have included working with agencies that benefit animals– Therapeutic Paws, the Humane Society,  and  Dachshund Rescue. Some of us help raise funds to benefit  research  into cancer or osteoporosis. Some work with social agencies like Out of the Cold, or St. Vincent de Paul. Then there is work with libraries, literacy  councils and community groups, where our writing and editing experience is especially valuable. One wonders, how many lives have we touched during the year?

 The answer to the quiz question is Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.


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Mesdames on the Move: September!

Mesdames at Word on the Street–Sunday, Sept 25th!


September brings the most important day in Toronto’s literary year —Word on the Street. This year at Harbourfront,   we Mesdames of Mayhem will have our own booth at the event for the first time. Eight of us will be there throughout the day to introduce ourselves, chat with our fans and, of course, to sell our books.

Be sure to drop by the Mesdames Booth W11 in Writers Block anytime between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Several Mesdames will be guesting at Sisters in Crime (Booth W12). We are neighbours in Writers Block – so readers can meet and mingle with many Canadian women crime writers. Many of us will also be helping out at the Crime Writers of Canada booth in Genre Zone, Booth 541.

Mme. Lisa De Nikolits will be on the panel, Mysteries and Maple Leaves with authors, Steven Burrows and Dietrich Kalteis,  to talk about Canadian mystery and horror writing at 12:15 pm .

For information on getting to Word on the Street, parking, events,  etc. go to the website here.

Readings and Conferences!

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Mme. Sylvia Maultash Warsh will be taking part in the first Read Local Event to be held in Midland.  The event showcases writing talent in the Georgian Bay area.  Sylvia will be reading from her historical novel, The Queen of Unforgetting, on Saturday, September 10th at 1:20pm. 41Guqsy+9LL__SX337_BO1,204,203,200_

The settings are deliberately unusual. Sylvia will be reading at Tripp’s Paint Shoppe, 259 King St, Midland.

The Queen of Unforgetting, was honoured with a plaque from Project Bookmark Canada, located in Little Lake Park, Midland.







Mme M. H. Callway is attending this year’s Bouchercon in New Orleans from September 15 to 18th. She’ll be joining fellow Canadian Crime Writers, Cathy Ace and Rob Brunet and reconnecting with many American authors and friends.

The popularity of New Orleans has drawn a huge crowd of authors from around the world. Mme Mad will be reporting back on her conference experiences – some of them may be haunting!


Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

Mme. Lisa De Nikolits is going on tour in the Maritimes with her new book,   The Nearly Girl. 

If you have friends or relatives in the Maritimes they will have a  chance to meet Lisa and purchase her newest book, The Nearly Girl.  The tour starts Sept. 29th and continues to October 8th.



Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

Mme. Cheryl Freedman reminds all light mystery authors:


Call for submissions for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award


Do you have a light mystery published in 2016? Are you a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?

If you do and are, send us the contact info for your publisher (publisher name, contact person, email address) to If your book is self-published, send us your name and email address.

Note: We do have a list of publishers from last year, but it’s probably woefully out of date and incomplete (the nature of the publishing beast), and we’d hate to leave out any book that might be eligible for the award.

A light mystery can be a cozy, a caper, a humorous mystery, essentially a feel-good book that makes the reader smile. The book must be at least 60,000 words. No noir or YA please.

We will be sending out the submission rules for the 2017 contest the week of Sept 4. The rules will also be posted on our Website Facebook:

The Bony Blithe Award will be presented in late May or early June 2017 at the Bony Blithe mini-conference in Toronto. The award consists of a charming plaque and a cheque for $1000 (now there’s something to smile about J).

For more info about the contest and whether your book is eligible, email us at








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Mesdames on the Move – Update for August

Editor, Mme Lynne Murphy, is on holiday from August 3 to 17th. She will be back with more news after Aug 18th.

13 O'Clock Launch Website1

On August 17th, 6:30 to 8 pm, the Mesdames of Mayhem are guests at Authors Night at Albert Campbell Branch, TPL, 496 Birchmount Road, Scarborough. The event brings together local authors and readers to mingle, exchange ideas and to learn about new books from established authors.

Seven Mesdames will be reading: Mmes Rosemary Aubert, M. H. Callway, Lisa DeNikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken, Jane Petersen Burfield and Sylvia Warsh. (Hence our group photo!)

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

This is Mme Rosemary McCracken’s summer! She was interviewed on Canoe 100.9 FM, the radio station in Raven Lake cottage country. Her interview airs on Wed Aug 17th at 6 pm and again on Friday, Aug 19th at 11 am.  If you miss these times, you can also listen to her full interview on the internet via this link.

51IDJYt589L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Rosemary’s latest book, Raven Lake, also received a great review from Jack Batten of the Toronto Star. Read Jack’s full review here.

And she was interviewed by the Minden Times, a Haliburton newspaper. Local readers may recognize some of the landmarks in Raven Lake though they don’t quite match up, having been transformed to serve the latest Pat Tierney mystery. Read Rosemary’s interview here.

More good news on the book front! New books by several Mesdames are launching this fall.  Mme Rosemary Aubert is releasing a collection of her short crime fiction under the title, The Midnight Boat to Palermo.  Mme M. H. Callway’s book,  Glow Grass, brings together her published short fiction, including two novellas. Both books are published by Carrick Publishing.

And our amazingly productive Mme Lisa DeNikolits launches her sixth novel, The Nearly Girl. (Inanna Publications)

Full details of all our launches and upcoming fall appearances will be in our September and October Mesdames on the Move newsletters.

And looking far ahead:  Mme Melodie Campbell’s latest book in her hilarious Goddaughter series, The Bootlegger’s Goddaughter, is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It launches in February, 2017.



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LIMESTONE EXPO: A Fab Cross Genre Conference

 Mme M. H. Callway attended Limestone Expo held in Kingston ON, July 23 to 24th.  This is the conference’s second year.

Here we reproduce her blog on the conference:

NEWS: Limestone Expo – Fab Cross Genre Con


Limestone Genre Expo, a 2-day conference for authors and fans of genre lit,  took place in Kingston, Ontario July 23-24th.  Organizers, Liz Strange, Delina MacDonald and Marlene Smith created the conference in 2015 to support Eastern Ontario writers of fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, YA and crime fiction.

Science fiction, fantasy, graphic and horror authors have intermingled for years at conferences like Comiccon, Fan Expo and When Words Collide.  Crime fiction is a relative new-comer to these events, but likely to become more popular in the intensifying search for readers and with the retirement of Canada’s late great national crime writing conference, Bloody Words.


Mme Mad with Windigo Fire

This was my first cross genre conference. Starting with a local conference proved to be both comfortable and enriching.  Several  of my crime writer friends were attending: among them Rob Brunet,  Vicki Delany, Madonna Skaff and Linda Wiken. And I have a deep affection for Kingston. I studied Chemistry at Queen’s University back when T. rex ruled the earth and OHIP was the major client of my IT consulting business.  Ed and I made a weekend of it, staying at the wonderful Rosemount Inn, a Victorian mansion which looks haunted and reputedly is.


Ira Nayman

My table mate in the vendor’s room was Ira Nayman,  political satirist, science fictioneer and aardvark lover. Ira generously helped me set up my book display and we had great conversations about life, the universe and everything when the author panels were running.

Brian Lindsay

Brian Lindsay

In the vendor’s room, I met Brian Lindsay, fellow crime writer and Arthur Ellis finalist for Best First Novel.  Brian is an imagist, chef and indie author of the Gilmore Island mysteries, set on an island near Westport, Ontario. Old Bones, which I’m enjoying now, is his first novel.

I also enjoyed meeting crime writer, poet, musician and reviewer, Bob Mackenzie.

The conference was a well- thought-out mix of panels, workshops, author readings.  There was a pitch session hosted by Five Rivers Publishing and a conversation with Jay Odjick, creator and executive producer of the animated TV show, Kagagi: The Raven.


Vicky Delany

Linda Wiken

Linda Wiken

Each genre had at least one panel specifically devoted to it. The crime fiction panel was “Modus Operandi, From Cozies to Private Eyes” , a broad topic to be sure, but a fine introduction of the genre to new readers.

Liz Strange had asked me to step in as moderator for the YA panel with authors: Y.S. Lee, Alyssa Cooper, Maureen McGowan, Kim McDougall and Suzanne Church. The facilities at the Kingston Frontenac Library were pretty good, but like many modern buildings, meeting rooms are scarce: one large upstairs space and two much smaller rooms, where you really got to know the audience!

YA is hot right now.  Virtually every literary agent is begging for it. Our audience was too large for the room and the fire marshal notwithstanding, everyone crowded in SRO. The panel graciously gave up their chairs to the audience and spent the entire hour’s discussion on their feet!


Madonna Skaff

Some observations about YA: people of all ages read it. Why? For the strong story lines, shorter book lengths and relatively uncomplicated language; in other words, a fast read.  YA many times deals with tough topics. Why? People see hard things on the media and through the internet every day. Parents can’t shield children as they once did. And the good news: Younger people are reading thanks to YA. Indeed research suggests most readers are younger than 35 or over 60!

Goth author Jen Frankel

Goth author Jen Frankel

Often, it seems that genre writers are silo-ed: crime writers mostly meet other crime writers and crime fiction readers. But conferences like Limestone Expo recognize that readers often read and love several different genres. And authors today share the same concerns. Panels were held on traditional vs. indie publishing, the portrayal of women, disability and LGBTQ2 identities.

My own panel, Monstrous Imaginings,  proved to be great fun. (The cross genre panel: Jen Frankel, Caroline Frechette, Evan May, Alyssa Cooper, Robin Riopelle and me.) The topic allowed us to freely interpret what “monsters” mean in crime fiction, romance, YA, horror, etc. We went a little wild and the audience seemed to enjoy that!

Liz Strange

Liz Strange

Liz plans to continue the conference next year.  Many thanks to Liz and the organizers for their hard work and a most enjoyable two days!


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Mesdames on the Move – Update for July

D. J. McIntosh

D. J. McIntosh

Mme D. J. McIntosh is just back from this year’s Thriller Fest held in New York City. Dorothy’s critically acclaimed thriller, The Angel of Eden, her third in the John Madison series, was one of five finalists for the ITW Award for Best Original Paperback.

Dorothy McIntosh - The Angel of Eden COVER

Dorothy is reading this Thursday, July 21st at 7 pm at Sauble Beach Library, 27 Community Centre Drive, Sauble Beach.  If you’re on holiday in Bruce County, don’t miss her!


M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway

Mme M. H. Callway will be one of 50 genre authors attending Limestone Genre Expo, being held July 23 and 24th, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson St., Kingston, Ontario.

12000831_10154197942864018_1649104801334232488_oMadeleine will be representing the thriller genre on the panel, Monstrous Imaginings as well as guest moderating the panel on Young Adult fiction.  Several fellow CWC authors will also be on panels, reading and / or running workshops, among them Rob Brunet,  Janet Kellough, Madonna Skaff and Linda Wiken. If you are in the Kingston area, do drop by!

Donna Carrick

Donna Carrick

Mme Donna Carrick’s (and husband Alex’s) labour of love, Footprints in the Sand, Woodland Beach Memories, is a terrific success. The print run ran out at the launch on July 16th.

Donna wrote about publishing this wonderful local history book in Mesdames of Mercy earlier this summer. Check out our archives for more.


NEWS FLASH: At least seven Mesdames of Mayhem will be guests at Authors Night held by the Scarborough Scribblers at Albert Campbell Branch, TPL,  6:30 pm, Wed August 17th.  More details next month!

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